Orwell Face



To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie Jura,

I am the art editor of a monthly magazine based in Brazil and on our next issue we will publish an excerpt of Orwell's correspondence from a book soon to be published in Brazil.

Would you be so kind as to inform who is the author of the image you used to illustrate the post "Why Orwell Wrote '1984'"?

Orwell Face

I'd like to contact the author, we would like to use it to illustrate our article.

Thank you very much,

Greetings Cecilia,

I love that sketch of Orwell -- the way the artist has captured his eyes and the set of his mouth -- and the colours. I know it's a caricature, but I consider it more than that -- it's a painting -- a portrait.

I cut it out of the newspaper many years ago -- it was an illustration accompanying an article about Orwell -- and it's been pinned to the wall beside my computer desk ever since.

After receiving your enquiry I took the image down from the wall and turned it over to see if there was identifying information on the back, but there wasn't.

Orwell Face     BackOrwellPainting

On closer inspection, however, I saw that there were clues, ie it's from the book review section of the paper and one of the books being reviewed -- by Peter Buitenhuis -- is ORWELL: WINTRY CONSCIENCE OF A GENERATION by Jeffrey Meyers. A fragment of the review can be seen at the top right -- but most of it was destroyed when I cut out the clipping.

To find the date when Meyers' book was published -- and therefore the year of the newspaper review -- I went to my Orwell bookcase and pulled out the book, scanned below:


My soft-cover edition came out in 2001 but the hardcover edition came out in 2000 and that's the one newspapers review. So the article illustrated by the image would have been written in 2000 -- meaning the sketch has been on my wall for thirteen years.

I went looking for the review in the filing cabinet where ARTICLES ABOUT ORWELL are filed in chronological order and -- EUREKA -- I found it! It's a photocopy I took of the article before cutting out the illustration on the other side. I've scanned it below:


The review is titled THE WHOLE ORWELL, BY GEORGE and it's from the October 28th, 2000 edition of the Globe & Mail -- one of Canada's two national newspapers.

However, knowing the name and the date of the newspaper where the illustration appeared doesn't answer your question as to who authored the image, or in other words, who drew the sketch. There's no signature in the lower right-hand corner where artists usually sign their name.

Then, while returning the article to the file, I came across another sketch of Orwell illustrating another article -- and it's very similar to the image we've been discussing.

Orwell Face


The illustration accompanied an article titled DOWN WITH ST GEORGE by John MacArthur in the March 30th, 2002 edition of the Globe & Mail.

This time the signature of the artist is there -- it says "Roy Peterson" -- and I think it's safe to assume he's also the author of the other image because they are very similar.

I actually have a book of Roy Peterson's drawings entitled DRAWN & QUARTERED: THE TRUDEAU YEARS, ie the years between 1969 and 1984 when Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada -- infamous for using the "F" word in parliament and "giving the finger" to we the people.

CartoonPetersonTrudeau Trudeau Finger

Thankfully Peterson's caricatures of Orwell are more flattering than those of Trudeau, an object of worldwide derision -- whereas Orwell is an object of admiration.

Another thing I noticed about the image, ie the one illustrating Meyer's biography of Orwell, is that the artist obviously used the photo of Orwell on the cover as the model -- after cropping it slightly

OrwellWintryMeyers OrwellWintryMeyers Orwell Face

They are mirror images of each other -- one real, the other stylized -- but otherwise identical.

I notice, also, that the photo of Orwell that Meyers used on the cover of his book (and that Peterson* copied in his drawing) was taken from the book GEORGE ORWELL AT HOME (AND AMONG THE ANARCHISTS): ESSAYS & PHOTOGRAPHS, by Freedom Press, published in 1998.

OrwellHomePhotoCvr OrwellHomeFaceModel


All the photos in the book were taken by Orwell's friend Vernon Richards who photographed Orwell at home in his flat at 27b Canonbury Square, Islington, North London in early 1946. This was a short time after the publication of ANIMAL FARM and the death of Orwell's wife Eileen in 1945. By this time Orwell was a legend in his own time -- a very successful author much beloved by his peers and his fans. As Richards explains in the introduction -- scanned above -- Orwell didn't like being photographed and so these photos are very rare.

Godcidently I've seen the originals of those Orwell photos in the very place where they were photographed -- and I photographed the photos.

Canonbury Square Orwell Pictures

I took the photo in 2003 during my HOMAGE TO ORWELL retracing his footsteps through England -- going to the places where he lived, worked, and frequented.

CanonburySquarePlaque JuraCanonburyStand FromOrwellKitchenWindow

The visit to the flat at 27b CANONBURY SQUARE was the ultimate Orwell experience because it was the main model for Winston Smith's flat in "1984" (along with the flat at 111 LANGFORD COURT in St John's Wood, London).

Now, in summary, the author of the image you saw on ORWELL TODAY is Canadian political cartoonist Roy Peterson* and the source was the October 28th, 2000 edition of the Globe & Mail newspaper.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

Thank you so much for your kindness, attention and time.

All the best,

* To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

Just to let you know that with your help we found the author: ANTHONY JENKINS*, staff artist at The Globe and Mail.

Once again, thank you very much for your attention.

All the best,

Greetings Cecilia,

Thanks so much for tracking down the name of the artist -- ie Anthony Jenkins -- as the author of that great image of Orwell. I see now that there are some differences between his Orwell and Roy Peterson's -- but both are obviously very talented cartoonists.

It would be interesting to see your upcoming Orwell article -- even if it is in Spanish. Orwell spoke Spanish fluently from his days in Catalonia and Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.

All the best,
Jackie Jura







Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com